I will start of by saying when it comes to the ocean 5ones has a biased to surfing, that is what we live and breath. However “Stimulus” the new skimboard movie by Exile Skimboards, presented by Extreme Outdoor Supply is insane. I haven’t seen many skimboard movies and I am not going to pretend that I have, but this movie is amazing. Anyone that enjoys riding waves (no matter what they use to ride them with) will enjoy this flick. The Skimboarding is unlike anything I have ever seen, the editing and music is rad too. It definitely makes a surfer want to hit the beach the next time the shore break is going off. Check out the trailer below.
If a rose by any other name is still a rose, an ASP World Tour stop in Brazil is still…
The Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro (the same event usually held each November as a precursor to the Pipeline Masters) already has it’s first two rounds in the books. To avoid a repeat of last year’s debacle, the ASP moved the Hang Loose Pro to June in order to ensure the attendance of the top talent on tour, the surfers that people actually care about seeing surf. After last year’s event saw 13 out of the ASP’s Top 44 surfers fail to show due to a remarkable array of injuries and illnesses, all that was left was another beach-break championship with 20 of the 48 competitors hailing from the host country. The thinking was that with a world title still very much up for grabs, anyone remotely in contention will do their best to avoid the unfortunate happenings that kept so many from making the trip to Florianopolis in ‘08. It worked, everyone showed up and the ‘Loose Pro has itself a full line-up of some of the world’s best surfers. There’s just one problem though- It’s still Brazil.
They call it the “Dream Tour”, yet I’m a bit curious to know whose dreams the ASP is modeling this thing after. After sitting through a few moments of the ‘Loose Pro webcast, it was time to click away and wait for J-Bay. Nothing more to see here.
Wanna start a World Tour??? Here’s your model-
Despite what some might say, there’s room in this world for a competitive surfing tour. Watching the surfers at the top of the game pushing themselves and each other live from the best waves throughout the world isn’t just entertaining, it also puts the ‘what’s possible’ element on display for all to see. There needs to be standards though, uncompromised standards. The answer for what’s ailing the ASP World Tour won’t be found in futuristic wave pools, it won’t be found in Brazil, it will be found in simplicity.
Fewer surfers, better waves, no Brazil.
Design legend. The man behind the brand. An innovator’s innovator. These are all phrases that have been used to describe Thomas Meyerhoffer. Meyerhoffer has a long history of shaking up industry norms from creating the eMate for Apple (the precursor to the iMac) to Flow Step-in bindings to game-changing windsurfing sails to new styles of furniture. His client list reads like a Who’s Who of hot, corporate brands. Apple? Yep. Nike? Yep. Oh yah and if you ski or snowboard with a helmet, you can thank Meyerhoffer for creating the little outriggers that attach to your goggle to properly position your strap with a brain bucket on your lid. And many other projects that he can’t or is too humble to name. After taking a look at his surfboards and a YouTube video of someone surfing one of his boards, I was eager to sit down and talk with such an influencer of modern design. You may want to dust off that Physics book before reading as he’s applying some high-tech dynamics to some long-standing, basic surfing principles.
#1 question. So why surfboards? Why now?
For me it’s doesn’t really matter that it’s 2009. It’s really been about the process. I started to make these boards like 5 years ago, experimenting with removing mass and redistributing volume. The outline or shape wasn’t as important to me as reducing volume. I never did the traditional process of drawing the outline and instead said this is what I want to do. The outline grew from the experimentation. This board is really like 4 boards in one board, offering remixed functionality and remixed experience. I’m just putting these pieces together.
So your website says that the Meyerhoffer offers “shortboard elements to longboard design.” Care to explain?
A lot of people talk about parabolic rails. It’s not exactly correct. That idea comes from skiing and snowboarding. There, you need that negative cut. People are also experimenting with that negative cut for surfboards. I’ve moved up the cut very far on these boards to where you don’t need it. So now we’re talking more about positive cut. So it’s not a parabolic cut surfboard.
In reality, you turn the board when you stand on the back of the board, from a positive outline. The only way you can get that same effect is from removing mass. Think of a shortboard outline. It’s really what you have (that decreased mass compared to a longboard) that’s what makes it turn better. You can have a shortboard with straighter or rounder sides. The more rounder the sides the more it turns. That’s the basic shortboard aspect.
Another factor is swing weight. We wanted to decrease weight in areas where you turn a long board, which is up front and completely remove the weight where you don’t need it (in the middle). What we’ve created is a board that still noserides, just like any longboard. But, the unusable (middle) area isn’t there so when you drop in, you can drop into steeper waves. You turn on the curve, farther back, more like a shortboard.
Lastly, we shaped the bottom, creating a high performance profile way in the back, using a deep double concave with a tri-fin setup. It’s really fast, makes it through sections that you normally don’t make on a longboard. The tail is there to create drive and compensate for the really long nose so it is more drawn out to compensate proportionally. Think like a race car, the bigger wings, redistributing the functionality over the surface.
There is no other sport like Surfing. I will go to the grave defending the ever changing dynamic sport that is surfing and how it’s superior to all other sports. Now obviously that’s my opinion, but there is reason to back it up. Every surf session is different. In fact, every wave is different. You can never surf the same wave and never re-create the same session. There are elements that dictate how and when a wave breaks thousands of miles before they reach the shore. In all other board sports, including snowboarding, you can replicate a situation. The kickers stay in the same spot as the run before and they remain the same size, the rails and boxes and planters and stairs will all be there exactly as you left them the day before. Pretty much nothing remains the same in Surfing from session to session.
Here in lies the problem when it comes to commercially advancing the sport. There will be a lot of people reading this that will say, surfing needs to stay core and blah blah blah. The fact remains it is already a commercial giant in terms of selling clothes and overall lifestyle and no matter how big it gets, the core reason as to why surfing is so amazing will never change as long as there are oceans and waves. In a recent ESPN article, Kelly Slater listed somethings he would like to see changed as to the way the ASP runs and operates. I very much agree with the majority of his points and I would like to address a few and see what your thoughts are.
ASP taking more control: As it is currently, the ASP organizes the events but each sponsor is in charge of marketing their events and their athletes. How much visibility an event gets is entirely out of the ASP’s hands and up to the brand controlling the contest. Kelly mentioned it should not be this way,
“The new governing body should own and run the events, own the media, do the marketing, bring in sponsors. Right now, the ASP doesn’t own any of those things, because it didn’t do the groundwork in the beginning. Sponsors own, run and market the events. That needs to change.”
As things stand, it would not be financially feasible for the ASP to do this because there is one huge piece of the pie missing, ticket sales. You gotta pay money to go see Tony Hawk bust out on a Half pipe, or Travis Pastrana pull a double backflip. The X-Games, the Dew Tour, and all those other similar events all charge for viewing pleasure. They also sell concessions and merchandise and yes all of this doesn’t go directly into the pocket of the event organizers, but enough of it does to make a huge difference in terms of visibility and marketing. You want to watch Chris Ward and Freddy Patacchia go head to head? You walk to the beach, there are no bleachers or box seats. The ASP doesn’t see a dime from fans in comparison to all
the other boardsports and major sporting events.
Enter the Wave Pool: The reason the ASP doesn’t charge is because the beach is free and I don’t think that should ever change. However, the possibility of adding a wave pool into the schedule of the ASP might be the solution to generating cash to start a marketing division that solely works on promoting events and athletes without corporate brand agendas. A wave pool would provide a setting that would make the sport of Surfing more exciting and real to the everyday person. Think how many people go to the X-Games or Dew Tour that don’t skate or ride MX? They go for the entertainment. Everyone thinks surfing is amazing, everyone wishes they could do it, and everyone enjoys watching people on waves, but not everyone can get to the beach. You bring a wave pool into the mix and all of the sudden you have a format with bleachers, and sky boxes, and concessions and an event that thousands of people can watch live and millions can watch on TV. The controlled wave environment would allow for superior TV viewing as you would not be subject to weather or swells. Now, don’t get me wrong, as I stated above there is nothing that can change the dynamics of surfing and that is why it’s such a powerful experience for those that participate in it. But would adding 3-4 wave pools into the circuit dilute that element? I would say the positive visibility that would come from it would out way the negatives.
You would have a more controlled wave environment that would allow riders to go bigger, ride more waves and truly compete on a skill level as opposed to a “time the sets, take advantage of wave priority” method. Veterans often have advantage in ASP as they now how to use the current format to their advantage. And I am not saying to take that away, but every other board sport has a course that doesn’t change that allows the competition to be based solely on who does better, cleaner more technical tricks with the same opportunity given. Could you imagine watching Bruce Irons, Jamie O’brien or Dane Reynolds in a wave pool with perfect vertical lips, they would be soaring 10 ft in front of you. Riders could take more risks and perform far more technical tricks and that makes for better and more exciting competition. Look back on when the rumors that Tony Hawk was going to pull the first competition 900 at the X-Games, or when Shaun White was going to do a 1260 on the Half Pipe. Or When Travis Pastrana was going to pull a double back flip. There is drama and marketability and something that interests the average non-enthusiast viewer. People that don’t own motorcycles were emailing their friends Travis’s double backflip the next morning at work. We don’t have that yet in competitive surfing.
“Among the biggest problems with televising surfing are that traditional surfing contests are too time-consuming, that waves are too unpredictable and that judging is too nuanced for the uninitiated. But recent innovations in the competition format and the development of wave pools that could serve as surfing arenas could help bring competitive surfing to a larger audience.” NY Times
“We would be able to schedule a contest on Friday at 6 p.m., live on TV. Picture a wave going around in a circle indefinitely. There’s a bridge over the wave for viewing, a Plexiglas bottom so fans can watch guys surf above them, and a crow’s nest in the middle so people can watch the best guys in the world surf the wave all the way around them. Kids could stand on the edge of the pool and get sprayed by their favorite surfers.” Kelly Slater
Wave pool stops should also be in land locked states or big coastal spots with no waves, the ASP could have stops in Vegas, Utah, New York, Texas, Chicago. Once the technology and end product can produce a world class break, surfing will become one of the most widely adapted and participated sports in the world. If you could truly progress your surfing in a wave pool in Vegas and then go to the coast and shred, you will have kids entering the ‘CT from places you could never imagine. Flash backs of Rick Kane from North Shore come to mind. You will see people driving with boards strapped to their roof in land locked states. You will have pro shops and local contests selling out tickets, kids going to school with sponsorship deals. Surfing will reach mainstream media as a sport, which will mean better and bigger events both in and out of the beach, better purses and better paid athletes. The entire sport will change in terms of visibility and exposure.
Whether that is good or bad? Time will tell. For the sport itself I think it will be good, for the core surfers that don’t care about world titles or ‘CT standings it will be annoying as you might be getting dropped in on by a kid from Kentucky with a bad farmer tan.
Entering the 2009 year on the ASP World Tour sans a major sponsor probably isn’t something Bobby Martinez ever anticipated taking place. However, when a well-publicized contract dispute with longtime sponsor Reef sent the two their separate ways, that’s exactly where the Santa Barbara, Ca. surfer found himself. Driven to once again prove himself as one of the top all-around surfers in the world, sponsored or not, Bobby Martinez claimed another WCT victory at Teahupo’o yesterday by beating out Taj Burrow to win the 2009 Billabong Pro Tahiti.
The win is the second for Martinez at Teahupo’o and his fourth world tour victory overall. From start to finish, Bobby surfed with as much poise, patience, style and confidence as I’ve seen him surf a ‘CT event in quite some time. While Taj was relentless in the final heat, Bobby Martinez was just way too in sync with the wave at Teahupo’o for Burrows to even have a shot. Even with the dominant performance, Martinez’ humble nature shined through in his post-victory comments. “I got lucky finding the good waves and things just seemed to work out for me today,” said Martinez. When GT asked him about the hefty cardboard check that was heading his way, Martinez was quick to let him know that today’s win at Teahupo’o was about much more than the financial reward. “I didn’t start surfing to make money. It’s about the feeling the feeling I feel right now. The money could never overcome the experience of having this feeling.”
A huge congratulations goes out to Bobby Martinez- winner of the 2009 Billabong Pro Tahiti.
*On a side note- I’d also like to thank Billabong for pairing up Joel Parkinson and Andy Irons in the commentary booth, even if it was for just one heat. The combo of A.I. and Parko was classic and made for some truly golden exchanges.
Transworld Surf and Irons Bro Productions presents “A Fly In The Champagne”, released on DVD yesterday. Setting the stage for this showdown of the world’s two best surfers against each other on a remote island in the Mentawais, A Fly In The Champagne documents the rivalry between Kelly Slater and Andy Irons leading up to their showdown in Kandui Island. Produced by ESPN commentator and action sports personality Sal Masakela, the film released yesterday and is exclusively distributed by Transworld Surf.
You can pick up a copy of Transword Surf’s ‘A Fly in the Champagne’ at your local surf shop. Included in your DVD purchase will be a one year paid subscription to Transworld Surf. If you aren’t interested in buying another surf DVD you can always stop by one of the participating shops hosting local release and premier parties this month. Check out the list below for a DVD feature presentation near you, or peep the Transworld Surf site to get a slideshow sneak peek and view the trailer.
Nor Easter Surf Shop. Scituate MA. TBD. Call 781 544 4610 for more info
Unsound Surf Shop. Long Beach, NY. May 16th 7pm at Unsound
Ocean Hut. Lavalette, NJ. May 24th at Ocean Hut. Time TBD.
Heritage Surf and Sport. Sea Isle City, NJ. Dead Dog Saloon May 19th 8-9 and 9-10 (21 and up)
Good Sessions Surf Shop. Jacksonville Beach, NC. TBD. Call 910-353-7070
Sidearm Surf Shop. Wilmington, NC. Beach House May 22nd 9pm
Surf Station. St Augustine, FL. May 23rd 8pm at the shop
Catalyst. Melbourne Beach, FL. TBD. Call 321-728-2960 for more info
Waterboyz. Pensacola, FL. May 22nd 8pm at Skatepark
Love Skatepark. Singapore. TBD
Ecolounge. Venice, CA. May 22nd 7pm at ARBOR.
Axis. Quebec, Canada. May 14th.
If it seems like it’s been forever since the Billabong Pro Tahiti first got underway…it pretty much has been. Between tricky winds and a crossed up swell pattern, Billabong’s contest director Luke Egan has had a hell of a time making the decision to pull the trigger on Rd. 2. Considering he had Billabong’s cash crop surfers Joel Parkinson and Andy Irons scheduled to surf the second and third heats once the call was made, you have to imagine Egan has had all the input he could possibly want or need. Nonetheless, the event is finally back on. Conditions at Teahupo’o aren’t exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Tahitian beast, however they are expected to improve as the day goes on.
While Mother Nature’s fickleness has wreaked havoc on the Billabong Pro, Tahiti itself hasn’t been without excitement. The crew at Surfline has some smooth, visually stimulating footage available of super-sessions that have taken place in the downtime. The clip of Kelly Slater and Manoa Drollet’s session at a dream-like right has already reached legendary status. That’s been folllowed up with footage of A.I., Parko, Occy, and Slater blowing up a left not far from the contest site at Teahupo’o. This includes a shot of Kelly dropping in and getting covered up while surfing goofy-footed.
The beauty of what was taking place in the water and the majesty of Tahiti was accompanied with a bit of drama on land. Apparently a semi-secret meeting was held between the ASP and top 45. A few of the guys on tour aren’t thrilled with the new format and wanted to share their feelings regarding this issue. A post on The Extreme Scene summed up that situation quite well.
Having said all that, the Billabong Pro Tahiti is indeed back up and running at Teahupo’o. If you can’t make it to the water yourself, it’s always entertaining to watch a few of the world’s best go to work. You can see all of the live action here
As we all know, most of the conversations that occur amongst surfers out in the lineup tend to be either frustratingly lame, extremely outrageous, or both. Personally, I tend to tune out the minute someone begins with another chapter of “I’m Surfing With A Hangover.” Or, “I’m thinking of buying some property here.” And regardless of whether or not I can relate, my ears go into immediate deaf mode when they hear, “Dude, how am I supposed to lay down on my board with that Brazilian chick out here!” The fact is that unless it’s me burping up Old Crow, me about to hook up some beachfront, or my boner keeping me from paddling into the next wave, I don’t give a shit and wouldn’t want to talk about it or hear someone else talk about it either way.
What I heard recently, though, actually had me paddling closer to the source for a better listen and by the time I had grasped the jist of what was being said, I was shocked, confused, and curious. According to the guys having this talk, it would seem that the State of California, hard up since long before the economic crisis hit the rest of the country and desperate for cash, is considering increasing state revenue by taxing surfers. Now like I said, I’ve heard it all and I was just about to tune this out too, when I realized that these guys were serious!
California is in deep, financially, and these surfers were saying that nothing is out of the question when it comes to coming up with cash to pay for things like state debt, education, and making improvements on the state’s inadequate infrastructure. To me this makes sense. I mean, we all saw the national headlines last month speculating about how the legalization and subsequent taxing of weed might save the State’s economy. Not to mention countless other gloomy headlines about budget cuts and tax increases. But how the hell do you tax surfing?!
The people I heard this from were suggesting that much in the same way state governments already tax cigarettes, booze, gambling and cars, they could do the same for surfing. By making surfers pay to register their surfboards as ‘watercraft’ and having beach cops enforce the law with fines, the state could potentially increase revenue for coastal communities who like everyone else have endured drastic budget cuts. Yeah, I know this sounds whack, but think about it; If everyone smoked, drank, and gambled, there’s no way any law that taxed these products would pass. The fact is, that these people are a minority and so when money’s short these groups are easy targets for this kind of tax bullying. Are surfers such a group? If you’ve ever received a speeding ticket for going 5mph over, then you know that life’s not always fair, that governments are not above exploiting their citizens for cash, and that there’s usually not a damn thing you can do about it.
As of yet I haven’t been able to confirm these reports. The fact remains, however, that California is in serious financial trouble and I strongly suspect that tyrant figures in government are scheming daily on new ways to make cash and looking for new groups to foot the bill. We all know that they can raise the price of a pack of smokes 25 cents, 50 cents, a dollar and people will still buy cigarettes. Is it the same case for California surfers and their surfboards? I urge anyone who has heard any info about this to come forward so that a strong and timely resistance can be mounted against the effort. I’d hate to have to trade in my ‘watercraft’ for a sponge even if it did make surfing with Brazilian chicks more comfortable.
If I want to hear about records, statistics and in-game strategy, I’ll watch baseball and basketball. With surfing, all I really care about is getting the chance to watch the best surfers in the world surfing the best waves in the world. Hopefully someday we’ll have a format which allows that to happen much more often than the system currently being used by the ASP.
Somewhere between Kelly Slater’s vision of a radical overhaul and Da Hui’s discombobulated criticisms of the ASP lies the very real truth that the Dream Tour is in desperate need of a makeover. The new format where the top 16 surfers get automatically seeded to the 2nd round was supposed fix some of what’s ailing the tour. Unfortunately, all it seems to have done is make a bad problem worse. Aside from the appearances of Andy Irons, Josh Kerr, Dane Reynolds and maybe one or two others; Rd.1 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti was weak and painfully boring to watch. If you were to put the Rd. 1 line-up of main event surfers side by side with the surfers who took part in the trials, an argument could very easily be made that the trials line-up contained much more talent. Clay Marzo, Mark Healey, Julian Wilson, and Bruce Irons…or Ben Dunn, Jihad Khodr, Nathaniel Curran and David Weare?
“CUT THE FAT There are 45 guys on the Tour. That’s too many. Cut it in half. There are guys who lose in the second or third round at every contest. One didn’t win a single heat last year. F1 doesn’t have 45 cars on the track for a reason. There should be a competitive level at the top, and we don’t have that.” Kelly Slater
In his Rd. 1 victory over Jihad Khodr, Andy Irons did more than just remind everyone he’s still at the top of his craft, he also put the mile-wide disparity in skill level on display for everyone to see. Khodr had no business being in the water with the 3x world champion at Teahupo’o and was left trying to scrape up 4’s and 5’s on the inside after A.I. opened with an 8.67. This type of situation happens far too often on the Dream Tour and is exactly why they’ve automatically put the top 16 into Rd. 2. Maybe instead of pretending the back half of the top 44 actually belongs with the front, it’s time to trim it down and allow more opportunities for locals and wildcards to go up against the surfers being touted as the world’s best.
As a fan of surfing and someone who likes to see how far it’s progressing, I watch the webcasts to see the best surfers surf the best waves. Unfortunately, for now anyways, the system being used by the ASP doesn’t always allow for that to take place.
For those who have yet to witness, Da Hui has taken to YouTube to share their feelings regarding Billabong and the ASP. Their point of conflict lies with a trials format that only allows 1 local surfer into the main event of the Billabong Pro Tahiti; a far cry from the 16 spots allotted by the Pipeline Masters. In the letter addressed to “Tahitian surfers of the Tahitian Surfing Federation and all it may concern”, a spokesman for Da Hui eloquently refers to the ASP and Billabong as “money-hungry pig idiots” and informed the Tahitians that “its time to stick out your chests, not your asses.”
I’m not going to pretend to know the inner-workings of the ASP and Billabong’s arrangement with Tahiti or their apparent monopoly of Teahupo’o. And no one would argue that there isn’t more than just 1 local surfer capable of hanging with and beating anyone on the Dream Tour. All you need to do is look at Manoa Drollet’s brilliant 2008 performance as evidence of how talented and dialed in the native surfers are when it comes to their wave. Over the years, Billabong has no doubt reaped a hefty reward from the natural wonder that is Teahupo’o. Opening the door for a few more local surfers to prove themselves under the bright lights of the ASP World Tour would certainly go a long way to further show their appreciation.
Where the stance taken by Da Hui gets confusing is their citing of the 16 wildcard spots allowed at the Pipeline Masters. They say that “all Polynesians should be allowed to have their talent shine and not have it blemished by foreigners”. Yet if you look at the list of the 14 wildcards who have already been confirmed for the 2009 event, it would be a stretch to say that even 50% would qualify as native Hawaiians or Polynesians. Considering it’s a system that’s left out past Pipeline Masters Rob Machado and Bruce Irons for this year’s event, it might not be a bad idea to re-evaluate the format being used at Pipeline as well. The ‘peer poll’ method used to select 6 of the final 16 especially leaves a lot to be desired. When Jamie O’Brien barely squeaks in at number 6 for the Pipe Masters, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.
While there’s no question changes could be made to allow more of the top native talent into the main event at Teahupo’o, I’m not exactly sure the Pipeline Masters has proven itself to be the gold standard on this matter.
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July 2nd Posted in Skateboarding
June 30th Posted in Surfing
June 23rd Posted in Surfing
- Nyjah Huston Rides for I&I Skateboards
- Brazil: Still Serving As The Buzz-Kill Event Of The ASP World Tour
- Greg Lutzka Moves to K-Swiss
- EXILE Skimboards "Stimulus" Best Skimboard Movie Ever
- Battle of the Berrics 2: Overview and Upcoming Matches
- Skateboarding & Style
- Retire from Skateboarding?
- Thomas Meyerhoffer of Meyerhoffer Surfboards: Shifting the Surf Paradigm
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- 09.22.09 - Jeff, If you can afford to go around the world, you should be giving away a surfboard. ...
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